How Connected Are You?

The first few weeks working in a full-time position were a little scary with regard to how often I checked an email, text, and phone calls. I didn’t want to miss a beat! I was given a smart phone through work, I found myself answering emails at 11:00 PM and later. My residence life friends might find this hilarious as they are all too familiar with the duty phone and its responsibilities at random hours. I’m using this post to share how I made the decision to manage a healthy level of connectedness while off the clock and away from the office.

I contemplated what it meant to have a healthy relationship of responding to emails and doing work off the clock. For me an appropriate response time for emails of non-urgent matters was within 24 hours. This did not include responding to emails late at night or super early in the morning. I made a choice to try and keep certain times in my schedule just for me. This may sound selfish, and this rule goes out the window when there is a level of duty that is associated with certain events and programs where I’m on call. Nevertheless, this simple change was a breath of fresh air. I was amazed at how much better I felt to make this simple change.

I most certainly am blessed to work for a university that provides phone service for my job position as it is in our identity to provide customer care to the students we work with. That includes a level of availability off the clock in connecting with students past the typical work day schedule. Part of the reason I found I was checking email late at night and early in the morning was associated with the fact that my personal and business life were intertwined in a relationship that did not work. It’s like cheating on your diet with the bag of cookies that you keep in the top drawer of your desk. Finally, I took the step to purchase a smart phone for my personal use and use the other phone for business. One might think doubling the technology access would be overwhelming; it was the perfect mediation for separating the two areas in my life and learning to have balance in healthy connectedness in my life.

The higher you move up in student affairs I might argue that this current connectivity technology application I’ve created might be thrown out the window, but maybe not.

The only allowance I give for my personal cell use and business cell use to meet on my personal cell phone is with my calendar. I like to know in planning personal adventures that I have no business events scheduled. For those of you without the ability to remember every meeting, event, and program and who fear double booking like me, know this was a beautiful relationship. And at least with the iPhone, when need be, you can turn off the business calendar with a few menu clicks away.

My fellow student affairs comrades, do not be afraid to disconnect. You might just find the peace of mind you didn’t realize was missing. Post a reply if there’s anyone else in the student affairs world who has evaluated their own level of connectedness.

Joshua Wilson

Joshua Wilson

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